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[Review] Jackson Browne @ Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne 29/11/2023

Review By Terri Nas

Wednesday night was a wet and soggy occasion(classic Melbourne Summer), and it was baby boomer central as I headed over to Margaret Court Arena to see legendary American singer, Jackson Browne. If there’s one thing I love as much as going to gigs, it’s people watching. As I stood outside waiting for my friend to arrive, I watched the crowd roll in and it occurred to me that never have I been to a gig where a huge portion of the crowd had to enter via the accessibility entrance. These boomers were here for a damn good time, and absolutely nothing was going to get in their way.

Browne is currently touring Australia after having to postpone his tour earlier in the year due to illness. Supporting him on his tour is Australian singer-songwriter, Liz Stringer. This is one home-grown talent that I am admittedly ashamed I have never heard of until now. Stringer has an absolutely incredible voice that has the ability to stop you in your tracks. It’s raw, husky quality is equally matched with refined smoothness and during a couple of her slower songs, if I’d closed my eyes I would’ve sworn I was listening to Christine McVie from Fleetwood Mac. Stringer is a true storyteller and her songs really struck a chord with me. Her song The Metrologist is brilliant and the intensity of the bridge had me holding my breath, waiting for her to come up for air during the fast paced lyrics. I thoroughly enjoyed her entire set, and she now has a brand new fan in me.

Once Liz Stringer departed the stage the roadies did their seamless stage changeover, and it wasn’t long until the house lights would go down in preparation for the main event. The stadium was stripped of light, and Jackson walked onto stage alone under a single spotlight to a huge round of applause. Guitar in hand and decked out in jeans and a blue plaid shirt, he opened the show alone with a moving version of Don’t Let Us Get Sick.

His band of 7 then entered the stage and took us on an upbeat ride Downhill From Everywhere, which then led to For Everyman where the stage was completely bathed in red lighting to really set the tone. Jackson’s two incredibly talented back up vocalists then joined him down the front of the stage to sing Until Justice Is Real, in which he dedicated it to those all around the world fighting racial injustice.

Fountain of Sorrow and The Long Way Around were next on the list until we got to Somebody’s Baby, in which Jackson confessed that it took him 20 years to love this particular song. He also acknowledged with humour, that “a guy with a white beard singing about a baby, is not good”. He then went on to explain that in his mind he doesn’t have a white beard and he’s definitely not 75. Those of us that have begun the ageing process certainly found this hilariously relatable.

Jackson then jumped over to the piano to play his favourite song, a cover of Warren Zevon’s The Indifference of Heaven. We then were treated to a beautiful and moving rendition of For A Dancer, which he explained was written about his first friend that passed away.

The lyrics are completely heartbreaking and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one with a lump in my throat at that point.

Hecklers in the audience started piping up with requests, and The Pretender was one that many called out, which was met with a chuckled response of “we’ll get there”. Jackson opted to play Boulevard next before succumbing to peer pressure and playing The Pretender, which was met with a hugely excited response from the crowd. Jackson explained that he’s actually been in Melbourne for the past week seeing the sights and lapping up our incredible restaurants, and couldn’t help but cheekily stir us about our “great weather” in response to the consistent summer rain we’d had for the past week.

Call It Alone and Time The Conqueror were up next, despite the audience still shouting requests in between. Jackson, in a good natured way said in response “we’re gonna play what I want.” Whilst the odd harmless heckle or request can be funny, when people consistently do it throughout a show it does wear thin and I find myself getting as annoyed as what the performer must be. As we started to navigate to the final leg of the set with more hits, That Girl Could Sing was a great experience with an awesome harmonising guitar battle, and then we got to the classic Doctor My Eyes which the crowd couldn’t help moving and singing along to.

Late For The Sky took things down a notch before the set was rounded out with a finale of his iconic hit, Running On Empty. The crowd were going wild and dancing in the aisles to the legendary tune. Those that weren’t up dancing, were then up out of their seats for a standing ovation at the end of the song. Jackson and his band deserved this overwhelming reception and more. We then went through the usual motions of being wished goodnight and pretending to say goodbye, until SURPRISE! Encore time!

There was no way he could finish up his 2+ hour set without singing an ode to all the roadies out there with The Load-Out, which naturally led into the crowd favourite Stay. There was a lot of audience participation and backing vocals during the entire encore because in fact, yes, we did “wanna staaaayyy, just a little bit longer”.

It was then a final goodnight to the brilliant Mr Jackson Browne and his super tight and talented backing band. Jackson and his formidable talent is a great example that age doesn’t necessarily mean limitations, given that his voice was still just as superb as ever, and I did love seeing him float between his guitar and piano throughout the course of the night. His music has that wholesome ‘Americana’ feel with long instrumentals and meaningful lyrics that reach your heart, which also have the staying power to reach multiple generations. Despite being one of the youngest there and not knowing every single song I thoroughly enjoyed my night with such a talented legend, and judging by the conversations I overheard on the way out, that was the general consensus of everyone that was in the room that night. Until next time, Mr Browne!

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[Review] Robbie Williams @ AAMI Park Melbourne, 22.11.2023

Hell is gone and Robbie’s here there’s nothing left for you to fear, 

Shake your arse, come over here, now SCREAM!!!  

The surrounds of AAMI Park were awash with people, food & merch stands, glitter, and more people, and I excitedly approached the stadium because tonight I had a date. A date with a man that I have loved for a very long time and who doesn’t actually know that I exist. But a date, nevertheless. Enter: Mr Robbie Williams.  

It was an expected older crowd who were flooding through the gates and jostling for position to catch a glimpse of the global megastar. Whether you’re a fan or not his music is undeniably catchy, and you will always find yourself at least humming along to his familiar tunes. My partner in crime for the evening is a dear friend who loves Robbie as much as me. I dare say there would be bloodshed between us if one of us had’ve nabbed Robbie for ourselves. We found our seats promptly and despite Robbie not gracing the stage for another 2 hours, the excitement was pulsating within me already. 

The first support act for the evening were Lufthaus, an electronic dance duet who originate from Melbourne. They’ve spent a lot of time overseas building their following, and interestingly enough have actually collaborated with Robbie on a number of tracks. They got everyone in the mood with their continuous electro tracks, and they let everyone know how pleased they were to be playing to a home crowd for the first time. 

Next on the bill was British singer and former Supergrass frontman, Gaz Coombes. His music is a mix of pop and rock, and people seemed to be really digging it. Gaz and his band were energetic and rocked the stage for their entire set, right up until they exited the stage. It was interesting to note the contrast in the 2 support acts, which no doubt ensured everyone’s music tastes were met.  

As the sun dissipated and dusk was upon us, my heart was bursting and the butterflies were in full force causing havoc in my stomach. I knew the arrival of the great man was imminent, and that he was nearby and ready to blow the stadium away. The remaining lights went down, there was movement on the stage and the crowd started to get riled up. We were met with the introduction of Hey Yeah Wow Wow, and as the 3 cubes that doubled as screens started to rise from the stage, There. He. Was. Donning a black sequin suit, accessorised with a white Elvis-style scarf, there was the legend we had all been waiting for. The song was over in no time, and it was then that the instantly recognisable piano riff of Let Me Entertain You began, as Robbie marched down the catwalk stage that led out into the middle of the general admission area. Robbie piped up during the song with “Let me reintroduce myself, I’m Robbie Fucking Williams”. The crowd were completely beside themselves by this point, dancing and singing along to every word. This was my 3rd time seeing the British superstar, and despite being nearly 20 years since our last date, hot fucking damn this man has not lost a thing.  

The next song he led into was a cover of Wilson Pickett’s Land of 1000 Dances, which is a party starter at the best of times. There was more audience participation, and at one point Robbie had a little sit down because as he put it, “I’m fucking nackered, I’m nearly 50!” Robbie told us he was going to take us on journey, on a 33-year musical odyssey of his career. The way in which he did this was hilarious and heartfelt with a great dose of nostalgia. Robbie checked in and asked his crowd, “Am I amongst friends, Melbourne? Am I in a safe space to share with you?” The crowd went ballistic in support because yes Robbie, we are here for you ALWAYS.  

Next up was one of his early hits Strong, in which he jumped down into the crowd to get up close and personal with his fans. It was hilarious watching this unfold on the big screen as there were a sea of female hands grabbing and groping him from every angle. Come Undone followed, and during it’s musical intro he incorporated a bit of JPY’s Love Is In The Air. This is one of my most favourite Robbie songs, and I was belting it out as loud as I could, along with the rest of my fellow concert goers.   

It was then Robbie wanted to take us on a trip back to 1990. On this trip he told us the Berlin Wall hadn’t long come down, Nelson Mandela had been released from prison, a young Australian cricketer was preparing to make his debut (this little tribute sent the crowd wild – R.I.P Warnie), and most importantly in that year a little boy band was formed called, Take That. There were a lot of Take That fans in the audience, and when we were treated with the music video to the band’s song Do What You Like, in which we were exposed to a close up image of 16-year-old Robbie’s arse in the clip, the crowd were THIRSTY. He then went on to play their song Could It Be Magic, in which he bailed on halfway through as he exclaimed “Na, I can’t be arsed!” He then shared a little anecdote of that era, when he went to Glastonbury with a bag full of drugs and champagne and hung out with 2 brothers from a popular UK rock band at the time. This was of course a segway into a cover of the Oasis classic, Don’t Look Back in Anger. Robbie took on the iconic Gallagher stance at the mic as he sung the song and at this point, I wasn’t sure that life could get any better than that moment.  

The Take That fans then got what they wanted with a version of Back For Good. Robbie went on to tell us that despite all the struggles he’s had to endure with his career, life, mental & physical health etc, that now he is actually the happiest he has ever been. If you’re someone who has followed his career both on and off the stage, then you know that this is a huge deal. This led into his song I Love My Life. Better Man followed and the audience took it upon themselves to provide backing vocals once again, and I found this song and its lyrics hitting me differently than they had ever done previously.  

The upbeat track Candy followed, before a moody and atmospheric performance of Feel with an intricate light show that perfectly set the vibe. After watching Robbie’s new Netflix documentary (which I highly recommend by the way), I realised during the show that songs like Feel, Better Man & Come Undone and their lyrics certainly hit a lot differently than they did previously. The lyrics are obviously raw and confronting and despite following his career for a long time, the doco really was an eye opener into his mental state over the years and the struggles he’s encountered, putting everything into a different light. 

It was time to pick the pace up again, as the intro to Kids started to play out. I did turn to my friend and say, “oh my god I wonder if Kylie is in town??” Sadly she wasn’t, so Robbie’s talented back up vocalists rotated the female vocal part of the smash hit. Robbie then ‘had a proper giggle and was quite polite’ as he then led into Rock DJ, in which the crowd were well and truly going off by now. Just to clarify, the crowd were psyched for the show’s entirety, but there were just some songs that amped them up even more. Robbie then departed the stage to indicate the end of the show, however of course he was just playing with us because there would’ve been a riot had there not been an encore. 

The stage lights went up again and the music started. It was now time for everyone to stand for the national anthem, as the intro to John Farnham’s You’re The Voice played out. The 3 cubes at the back of the stage rose again, revealing Robbie wearing an Australian Cricket Team t-shirt. John Farnham in all his mulletted glory appeared on a screen behind Robbie singing along, and it wasn’t until Robbie pointedly turned around to show us, that we realised the back of his shirt was emblazoned with WARNE 23 on the back. Cue goosebumps, tears & and an overwhelming response from the crowd for this lovely tribute to an Australian legend. Robbie then singled out a lady in the front row to dedicate She’s The One to. In a hilarious interaction, there was another woman standing there who was so overwhelmed with emotion and was trying to get in on the action too. Robbie’s cheeky banter with them both made it extra entertaining, and I truly envied the woman in which the song was dedicated to. 

To top off the night Robbie rounded out the set with his usual finale of Angels. This time he dedicated it to the lady who tragically passed away after having an accident at one of Robbie’s Sydney shows. Once again it was a touching moment, and with a sea of phone lights before him (gone are the days of the old lighters swaying in the crowd), it was a magical sight to behold and be a part of. Robbie and the band then took their bows to exit the stage, but it seemed Robbie was just having too much fun to leave. Long after the band had departed, he hung around singing the start of a few of his songs acapella and then encouraged the crowd to finish it. He of course had to get one last cheeky quip in, and asked who in the audience were Carlton supporters. You can imagine the response that got with a lot more boos than cheers, and Robbie found it hysterically funny and said, “I love asking that, that is fucking hilarious”. He then started singing the first few bars of Better Man in which the crowd continued as Robbie then snuck off stage and into his waiting van side of stage to whisk him away. 

“I just wanna Feel, real love” … and Robbie, real love is what you gave us. Robbie’s charisma alone is a show in itself, and his extended interactions with the crowd throughout the night were nothing short of entertaining & hilarious. He also has the uncanny ability to stare straight down the barrel of a camera, and have you believe he is looking and singing directly to you and you only, which is how I felt every time I watched the big screens. I may be bias, but you really can’t dispute the fact that he is a brilliant showman and knows exactly how to get the audience eating out of the palm of his hand. I truly didn’t want the night to ever end, and I was a mix of elation and sadness leaving the stadium with my raspy throat from singing and screaming, and my sore cheeks from the permanent smile that was plastered to my face for the night. The first song to play in the background after the show was finished was Time Of My Life from Dirty Dancing, and the audience were singing along with it even after they’d departed the stadium. Once outside the stadium I could still hear the crowd singing it and thought it was quite poignant, given that each of us really did have the time of our life that night. 

If you’ve never seen Robbie Williams live then he definitely needs to be added to your bucket list, as he is one singer even the most minor of fans need to see at least once in their lifetime. We love you Robbie, Australia loves you, and I hope you come back to our shores sooner rather than later!!   

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[Review] The Corrs @ Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne 6/11/2023

For those that have known me for a very long time, know that I am a huge fan of The Corrs. HUGE. Even borderline obsessive when I went through a stage of wanting to be them! So, when the opportunity arose for me to finally see my childhood idols in the flesh for the very first time, you bet I was counting down the days until their arrival. The Irish pop group have been touring Australia & New Zealand, and Melbourne was the last stop on their Australian leg of the tour before heading over the ditch to visit our Kiwi cousins.

Headed to Rod Laver on a beautiful balmy 28-degree night, I was met with fellow revellers of all ages that were hyped by a combination of the magnificent weather and anticipation of the night ahead.

Adelaide sister act Germein were the first of the three support acts of the evening to hit the stage. The trio entertained with their fun and heartfelt pop songs, and their inner beauty and humble nature, along with their musical talent, really made them shine on stage. Next on the bill was American-born singer-songwriter, Toni Childs. Toni came out on stage to a quiet reception from the audience, but then proceeded to completely blow everyone out of the water with her distinct sound and powerhouse vocals singing one of her biggest hits, I’ve Got To Go Now. Despite the years gone by and her age, not only does she look amazing, but her pipes are still absolutely incredible and they never faltered once. Toni sang a few of her other older hits including Stop Your Fussin’ and Don’t Walk Away, which had the audience well and truly eating out of her hand. As she ventured into some of her newer material, the audience were thoroughly enjoying themselves, and even more so when she came down into the crowd for her final song. Toni ventured through the audience shaking hands as she delivered her final song which was full of hope, encouragement, and reminding people that they are beautiful, intelligent and worthy.    

Australian sweetheart Natalie Imbruglia was the last support act of the night to warm up the punters – and that is exactly what she did. Natalie kicked off with some older hits Wishing I Was There, Wrong Impression Shiver, before leading into a small catalogue of her newer stuff. The crowd were loving every minute of her amazing vocals and high-energy set, but you knew everyone was waiting to hear THE song. When the opening bars of Torn started, the crowd erupted and sang along to every word of the 90’s hit. Natalie then finished off with my personal favourite Big Mistake, and it was at this point in the night that I realised I had actually entered a time machine and was now well and truly planted back in 1997.    

It was now that my heart rate started to increase, and my excitement was making me nauseous because I knew it was time for my favourite Irish band to hit the stage. Now when I say that I used to be obsessed with The Corrs, I’m not lying. Growing up, my musical weapon of choice of was the flute(these skills are easily transferable to a tin whistle), and my best friend who loved The Corrs equally as much was a violinist. So, we would spend our weekends covering their songs and doing our own arrangements, and when we weren’t doing that, we were watching their live DVD’s over and over again for inspiration. You get the tragic picture now?    

The houselights go down and we’re met with vision on the screens of The Corrs walking down a long corridor, as the goosebumps on my skin are nearly busting right through the surface. Pre-recorded celtic instrumental music accompanies the footage and keeps building up and up into a crescendo. Once the music hits that peak, an almost tribal-like drumbeat kicks in and that’s when The Corrs’ drummer Caroline appears in the singular spotlight on an otherwise dark stage, beating those drums as if her life depends on it. The beat stops abruptly, and the electric guitar intro to Only When I Sleep kicks in and that is when we get our first glimpse of the Corr siblings. By this stage, the tears have well and truly started flowing and all I can think is “Thank god it’s dark in here so no one can see me being a blubbering idiot”.  

With Andrea’s beautiful soaring vocals in this opening number, I knew then that this was going to be an incredible show and that the band haven’t lost a single thing. Give Me A Reason Summer Sunshine got the crowd bopping along, and everyone was in their absolute element. With a now dark stage, the spotlight was on violinist Sharon, who started playing the iconic instrumental Erin Shore. The crowd went mental not only for her stunning playing, but for the fact that they knew this was the introduction for The Corrs early smash hit, Forgiven Not Forgotten. Jim’s keyboard hit us with that iconic piano riff, and it was on. I’ve probably heard and even sung this song approximately 406,282 times in my life, but hearing it live in the flesh was like hearing it for the first time and loving it all over again. This was also the first song of the night where Caroline’s bodhrán made its appearance, and I’m always completely in awe watching her play it.   

Next on the list was the unrequited love track,What Can I Do. Andrea joked that singing this always worked in getting the guy, however Sharon hilariously retorted that in doing so meant “you usually got the wrong dude at the end.” It’s no secret that The Corrs have covered Fleetwood Mac tracks in the past, and even collaborated with Mick Fleetwood. So, it was only fitting that they covered Fleetwood’s Little Lies, in tribute to the late Christine McVie. After Don’t Say You Love Me, we were treated to their stunningly beautiful cover of Jimi’s Hendrix’s tune Little Wing. Despite also being a die-hard Fleetwood Mac fan, I would have to say that this is probably my most favourite song that they have ever covered. With the poetic lyrics and their Celtic touch, the song really is a moving and emotional journey. It was time for Andrea to take a quick break from the stage, leaving Sharon & Caroline on lead vocals to sing the Jimmy MacCarthy song, No Frontiers. Their rendition of this has always been a favourite of mine, and it has to be said that you can be the most talented vocalist in the world with the ability for killer harmonies, but nothing beats the smooth butter-like sound of siblings harmonising together(It’s also scientific fact!). This song is a stripped-back prime example of this, where both Sharon & Caroline’s voice blend so well that they sound like one.   

It was then time to get up and have a jig around to the instrumental Joy of Life, before being led into one of their newer tracks about immigrating called, Ellis Island. We were back into another instrumental number with Haste To The Wedding, and it is seriously impossible not to move around and feel happy when listening to these pieces. Radio was next which then led into another of my favourite’s (and also my bestie’s favourite too), Queen of Hollywood. It’s such a beautiful and sad song and the lyrics get me every single time. We were then treated to another Fleetwood cover of Dreams, and despite being a sucker for the original, I just adore this arrangement and their little Irish spin they put on it to make it sound even more incredible. My gut was telling me that we were nearing the end of the show, but I was hopeful for an encore as they fired up with So Young. This got the whole crowd up and dancing and there was just so much love and happiness in the room. The band struck while the iron was hot and kept the crowd up dancing and singing along with, I Never Loved You Anyway.   

We went through the motions of a fake goodbye before we welcomed them back for an encore. No Corrs gig would ever be complete without hearing Runaway, so that was the first song waiting for us in the encore. However, the crowd took it upon themselves to give Andrea a break and provide the lead vocals for this track, and every single person in the place was singing along. Everyone was left Breathless for the next track, before they rounded out their encore with the iconic instrumental piece Toss The Feathers. It was a sad farewell as The Corrs wished us goodnight and left the stage, and I was left wondering what I was going to do with my life now that the show was over.  

If I had to sum up this show in one word? Flawless. In every sense of the word. The Corrs are an incredible talent, and time has certainly not aged them or their music. This gig was an absolute dream come true for the chubby little 12-year-old girl who loved playing the flute and listening to The Corrs on repeat, and for the now 34-year-old body and mind in which she now resides. A truly magical night all round with a huge array of talent. You’ll be sad that you missed it!   

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[Review] Jet @ Night Cat, Melbourne 20/09/2023

Review By Terri Nas

A drizzly Wednesday night saw me headed northbound in the direction of The Night Cat in super-cool Fitzroy. Legendary Australian band, Jet, are touring the country to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of their first hit album Get Born. Wednesday night’s gig was a warm-up show to kick off their tour, their first show being Friday night at The Forum.

If there’s one way to make yourself feel simultaneously young again but old as hell, it’s heading to see a band celebrating the 20th anniversary of the release of their first album that you played on high rotation during your youth. Wait… wasn’t it only yesterday that I was a perky, young and innocent 15-year-old, bouncing around at house parties to Are You Gonna Be My Girl? Where did these wrinkles come from? Why is my back killing me? This album stirs up so much nostalgia in me every time I listen to it, and I’m always instantly transported back to exact moments in time with each song.  

This was my first time visiting The Night Cat, and upon entry into the hazy, red-lit room with its mismatched vintage light shades and killer vibe, I was instantly impressed. The stage is actually positioned in the middle of the room, giving the audience a full 360-degree experience of the talented humans who grace its stage. Booth style seating borders the perimeter of the room with a bar on the outskirts to boot. And for a few lucky ones there were small tables positioned on certain sides of the stage. I cut a few sweet laps to get a feel for the venue whilst the crowd was still slowly rolling in, and I soon found myself a nice little position side of stage and super close to the action.

Local Melbourne trio Neon Goblin kicked off the night and with their heavy bass lines and psychedelic sound, they set the mood for the evening. The crowd were suitably impressed with their set, and it was then time to bid these guys farewell. 

The room gradually filled to its capacity of approximately 500 bodies for this sold-out show, and the crowd was starting to come alive in anticipation of Jet’s arrival. I was also interested to note the average age range of the punters there. Yes, I may be in denial about my own age, but I would say the crowd started at around 35 and up. Surprisingly a huge chunk of people would’ve been around my parents’ age. A true indication that music can touch any heart, of any age.  

The lights dimmed and the intro music was turned up a notch – here come Jet.

Oh. My. God. My body was covered in goosebumps as they took command of the stage and flew straight into their hit Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is. Now it’s no secret that being a rockstar and the life that that entails can take its toll on the body and speed up the aging process. But is it possible that Jet have discovered the fountain of youth as they are looking better than ever. Just like a fine wine. Being so close to the stage that I could see the sweat on their upper lips, I know it wasn’t just an optical illusion of smoke, mirrors and good lighting.  

The crowd were completely amped right from the first note and the energy that was emanating around me never faulted once. We were treated to She’s A Genius followed by Black Hearts. I loved that they threw in some other hits before they got right down to business – getting into their Get Born album track for track. Last Chance kicked off the album, followed by their first smash hit Are You Gonna Be My Girl. Yes, Jet, I will be your girl. There was not one person who wasn’t dancing or singing along by this point, as we were then led into the cheeky hit for all the DJ haters – Rollover DJ.

It was then time to kick it back a notch with the slow ballad Look What You’ve Done, which also had the crowd providing backing vocals. Get What You Need was the next cab off the rank, and with drummer/vocalist Chris Cester sadly missing in action due to family reasons, his brother and frontman of the band, Nic, took the lead vocals on this song and unsurprisingly smashed it.  Nic then invited Melbourne-based singer/songwriter/musician Andre Warhurst on stage to join them for Move On. Bass player Mark Wilson traded in his bass for the harmonica for this track, and his kick-ass playing further convinced me that I really want to teach myself how to play this little free reed wind instrument.  

Guitarist Cameron Muncey then took the reins on lead vocals and slowed the pace with Radio Song. Get Me Outta Here fired the energy back up again, and then this little Cold Hard Bitch was “shakin’ her hips, and it was all that I needed” to hear my most favourite Jet song. I wasn’t the only one loving this song, as I spotted a keen crowd surfer floating along the top of the crowd before swiftly disappearing back into the pack. The beauty of the stage being completely accessible from all sides meant that from my vantage point at the side of stage, I was privy to the band’s view of the audience. It really is such a warm feeling seeing those extra die-hard fans right at the front of the stage emanating pure awe and singing every single word to every single song, just as hard and as passionately as the band. 

Come Around Again & Lazy Gun started to slowly round out the set, before it came to a close with the heartbreaking song Timothy, with Cameron back on lead vocals. With its melancholy melody and gut-wrenching lyrics, the song hits hard and the audience absorbed every moment. Nic then acknowledged that it was the point in the show where they would pretend to leave the stage and do an encore. Rather than doing that though, the band exited the stage and left Nic to do a beautiful acoustic rendition of Shine On. The rest of the band came back to join us with Andre Warhurst in tow, and we got to preview their new song Little Fish, which was extremely catchy and had me trying to sing along despite never hearing it before. Jet then decided to Bring It On Back before succumbing to multiple requests during the show to “get on your feet” and Rip It Up.  

Jet have etched themselves into the Australian songbook of legendary rock bands, and their live shows do not disappoint. I have been to hundreds of gigs in my life of all different sizes, but this was by far one of the best. As I ventured home I was still buzzing and was wondering how the hell I was going to get any sleep with this intoxicating music high still running through me. The band were tight and Nic’s vocals are still in absolute tip-top shape. Their presence is subtly commanding and from the first beat, they own that stage and every single soul watching them. All I can say is Jet are better than ever, and if you nabbed tickets to this tour then you will be in for an absolutely awesome ride! And for those that missed out, my condolences on missing a shit-hot show.  

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[Review] Midland @ Forum Theatre, Melbourne 01/09/2023

Review By Terri Nas

As I wandered up Flinders Street towards the Forum theatre last Friday night, I was met with a sea of plaid shirts, Stetson hats, rhinestones, cowboy boots and Ringers Western apparel as far as the eye could see. Having not been to many country music gigs, I wondered what kind of night I was in for when I noticed a number of patrons getting refused entry due to pre-gaming a little too hard before hitting up the gig. 

One thing was for sure though, these people were here for a good time, and it was up to Austin-based country trio Midland to provide the goods. The band are currently touring Australia with their headline show, having not been down under since 2019. 

The drinks were flowing and the theatre was abuzz with excitement, awaiting the arrival of the support act in the form of Australian country singer, Travis Collins. Exclaiming that this was his first time playing at the Forum, Collins then proceeded on with his 30-minute acoustic set that included his new song Offended (which his record company weren’t so keen on due to its cheeky lyrics), and an energetic cover of John Denver’s Thank God I’m A Country Boy which had the whole crowd singing and stomping along. Despite Collins explaining that he felt a little lost being alone on stage without his full band, he was still excellent and a great way to start the night. 

Soon enough it was time for the main event. Enter: Midland. The trio comprising of Mark Wystrach (lead vocals & guitar), Jess Carson (guitar & vocals) & Cameron Duddy (bass guitar & vocals) emerged from the stage accompanied by their 4-piece backing back. They kicked off their set with If I Lived Here which got the crowd riled up for the evening. 

Mr Lonely had everyone up and dancing and singing along, followed by the heartbreak tale Out Of Sight. The rocking riff of 21st Century Honky Tonk American Band fired up and it was hard not to move along to its beat. The band explained that they’d been flat out since arriving in Australia, but that they felt right at home here because “in Australia y’all love getting fucked up on a Friday night”. If you’ve ever fallen victim to a big night out in Austin, Texas where the band resides, then you know that these boys definitely would feel at home here and that they would know how to party. This led into their aptly named hit Playboy which featured on their second album, Let It Roll. 

We were treated to a few covers during their set including the Garth Brooks tune, Much Too Young and the 70’s hit The Boys Are Back In Town, made famous by the legendary Thin Lizzy. When the opening bars of Men At Work’s Down Under rang out through the crowd, the audience were singing every word with all of the patriotism they could muster. 

The audience were loving every second as they sang along about living Paycheck To Paycheck and then said Adios Cowboy. We got 2 more covers in the form of Wichita Lineman by Glen Campbell, and then it was “A long way to go and a short time to get there” as we were East Bound And Down (made famous by Jerry Reed). To close off their set we were “watchin’ cigarettes Burn Out”, which the crowd lapped up with every note. 

Of course, the night couldn’t possibly be over after their departure at the conclusion of Burn Out, so an encore was on the cards for this rowdy and fired up crowd. Longneck Way To Go kicked off the encore followed closely by my favourite Drinkin’ Problem. The crowd were on a high when we were then bid adieu with Fourteen Gears

I really enjoyed my first offical country music gig, and with their sweet harmonies and authentic honky tonk sound I felt like I’d been transported back to Austin, Texas and was bar hopping on the “Dirty 6th”. Absorbing the energy from the audience was an experience in itself, and I was thoroughly entertained by some of the shenanigans I witnessed. A great night all round and I think it’s fair to say every single punter there had the best time possible. See you next time, Midland!  

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[Review] Teddy Swims @ Forum Theatre, Melbourne 25/08/2023

Review By Terri Nas

A mild August night in the city led me to the Forum Theatre last Friday, to go and experience Mr Teddy Swims for the first time. The Georgia-born singer is currently touring the world and blowing away audiences on his “I’ve Tried Everything But Therapy Tour”, accompanied by his 5-piece band Freak Freely. For the amount of gigs I’ve been to throughout my life, this old music lover is ashamed to admit that she has never been to a gig at the Forum so it was a night of firsts all round for me.

The 94-year-old theatre is a beauty in itself, with its iconic ceiling and clever lighting that has you believing you’re star gazing under a night sky, which instantly sets the tone as soon as you enter its doors. Being a recently initiated Teddy fan myself and given the diversity of his music style, I was interested to see the demographic of his audience that flock to his concerts were predominately aged between 30-50. 

There was a buzz throughout the crowd who were settling into position and  keenly anticipating having their socks blown off. To begin the sock-blowing process, young Aussie talent Mia Wray kicked off proceedings with a hauntingly beautiful acapella version of Work For Me. From the first note the packed theatre was in complete silence, mesmerised by the spell her incredible voice had cast on us. A collective case of hardcore goosebumps ensued, and this was one hell of a baptism into her music for me. Mia was absolutely brilliant and I’m now officially a huge fan and can’t get enough of her voice. Her entire set was incredible and included Never Gonna Be The Same, Evidence & Monster Brain.

The crowd was now officially warmed up and we didn’t have to wait long at all for Teddy to arrive. Thank god he opened the show with 911, because we needed the paramedics and fire brigade on standby for this shit-hot show. For The Rest Of Your Life followed in which Teddy promised to deliver an even better show, than when he was on Australian shores last year. When the iconic piano intro of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ started up, the crowd went crazy and they couldn’t help but sing along passionately to every single word of the 80’s rock classic.

Naughty Teddy then told the story of when he got into trouble with his girlfriend over some ‘compromising’ photos on his phone, which inspired What More Can I Say. At this point, the crowd just wanted to keep upping their Dose of the drug that is Teddy’s voice. Teddy has a voice that reverberates throughout your entire core and will evoke a range of emotions within you in just a few brief notes. Devil In A Dress was a crowd favourite, which was followed by Someone Who Loved You which was written about Teddy’s “stupid ass ex-girlfriend” as he so bluntly put it.

When the opening bars of Lose Control fired up, that’s exactly what the crowd did, and this song being one of my favourites had me feeling all the things and getting completely lost in the moment. Amazing was next on the list and whilst still trying to recover from its predecessor, this heartfelt love ballad planted a lump in my throat and had all the couples in the room holding each other just that little bit tighter. With it’s beautiful lyrics and his mesmerising voice, I was simultaneously melting through the floor whilst trying to hold my tears back throughout the song’s entirety.  

Teddy then went on to remind us that the most important people in the world are mothers, and that we need to always treasure them. His Shania Twain cover of Still The One-which is one of the songs responsible for thrusting him onto the world stage- was next so as he led into it he beautifully dedicated it to all the mamas out there. We were then treated to a new song off his latest album, Some Things I’ll Never Know, which is about relationships ending and not getting the closure you need to move forward. Teddy was visibly emotional and overwhelmed at the crowd’s response and couldn’t have been more appreciative and humbled by the love and support he received from his fans.  

A rendition of Happy Birthday was sung to his best friend and tour photographer who was hiding side of stage, and Teddy gushed about how wonderful his best friend is and added that he is blessed to have the best job in the world. Emotions were still running high, and he was still trying to recover and “get his shit together” as he led into All That Really Matters.

At the conclusion of the song Teddy disappeared and we were left wondering if we would get an encore as the crowd definitely weren’t done with him yet. He reappeared a few minutes later to let us know that he was “about to piss his pants” which was the main reason for his sudden departure. When the band fired up the first couple of bars of the classic Tennessee Whiskey, the crowd went mental and I myself, nearly had a heart attack as it is one of my most favourite songs. Teddy’s voice really is as smooth as Tennessee Whiskey and is so well-suited to this song, and the crowd couldn’t help but sing along to the smooth country love ballad.  

Teddy’s departing gift to us was his hit song Bed On Fire, which left the crowd on a complete high. Despite his husky soul voice with a dash of falsetto for good measure, he manages to adapt himself seamlessly into multiple genres like soul, pop, country & RnB, broadening his talent and his fanbase. His fun-loving but humble personality makes him appealing, and you can tell that he truly appreciates his fans and the love that they show him. It was a bloody brilliant gig all round and if you’ve never heard of Teddy Swims, then I implore you to jump onto a streaming app and check out his stuff because I can guarantee you definitely won’t be disappointed.  

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[Review] Lizzo @ Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne 17/07/2023

Review By Terri Nas

I just took a DNA test turns out, I’m 100% THAT obsessed with Lizzo! 

Monday nights usually see me headed home after a long day at work to switch off and relax. But this week I ventured out to see the most brilliant and baddest bitch around, Lizzo! 

When I arrived, Rod Laver Arena was abuzz with glitter, sequins, and palpable excitement as far as the eye could see. 

Whilst we were all settling into position, we were treated to a fun and energetic set from Australian singer/rapper Tkay Maidza, who is supporting Lizzo on the Australian leg of her Special world tour. 

Once Tkay departed the stage, the countdown was on for the arrival of the lady of the hour. I could literally feel the electricity in the arena from the crowd pulsating through my veins and increasing by the minute. By the time the house lights went down, the place could’ve burst into flames with the hot anticipation radiating from the audience. 

It was then that Lizzo made her grand entrance centre stage in all her voluptuous glory, and opened her set with Cuz I Love You and her fun and bouncy hit Juice. We were pre-warned by the lady herself that she’d been on the coffee before the show, so now she was “hyper as shit”. Well the coffee worked, because her energy and stamina didn’t waiver once throughout her 90 minute set. 

By this stage, the audience were “‘bout to have a panic attack” wondering if they were ready 2 Be Loved. We then found our Soulmate and jumped on the Phone to the Grrrls. Lizzo then sung us through all the different types of Boys she likes, and then added a little Tempo. During the next song, Rumours were flying and we got to see a surprise on-screen cameo from Cardi B. Lizzo’s energy and vibrancy was completely contagious, and the whole crowd were beside themselves with excitement for the entirety of the show.

As Lizzo sung her hit Special, it was like being embraced in a big warm hug from your best friend. Between the lyrics and her delivery, the song really is a beautiful reminder that everyone is special and loved no matter what. During one particular moment, Lizzo was visibly emotional and slightly overwhelmed as she looked out into the sea of faces (and phones) and absorbed every ounce of love that was being directed her way. The next few songs led us to an excellent cover of Chaka Khan’s empowering female anthem (and a favourite of mine) I’m Every Woman.  

After Everybody’s Gay & Water Me, we were then treated to another cover, this time of Coldplay’s best-selling single, Yellow – with Lizzo declaring that they are one of her most favourite bands. 

It was then time for the famous Sasha Flute to make an appearance, and my little flautist heart skipped a beat listening to the dulcet tones being projected from the melodious woodwind instrument. (Yes, I was a Flute player. Yes, I went to band camp). I just love how an artist like Lizzo has incorporated her classical flute training into her music, giving her a different edge to most. Thank you Lizzo, for making us band nerds and the flute cool again! 

Sasha led us into the iconic hit Truth Hurts with some bad-ass trills which, due to some technical difficulties, was performed in darkness. Lizzo finished the song by hilariously asking “did we pay the light bill, bitch?” A temporary blackout didn’t stop the superstar from continuing the show like a true professional. Interacting with her fans to kill time until the lights were rectified, turned out to be a heart-warming moment in the show. The genuine and humble way in which she interacts with her fans is a clear indication that they are her priority. This is all for them. To prove this point, she did an encore performance again of Truth Hurts once the lights were back, because as she eloquently yelled out, “these people need to get their motherf**kin’ videos!” 

Lizzo has a literal glow that emanates from her, and as well as being beautiful and downright hilarious, you can tell everything she says comes straight from her soul and she believes every word she preaches. 

Her set was rounded out with I Love You Bitch, and the catchy and super motivating Good As Hell, which if you’re not ready to take on the world after listening to it, then you were listening to the wrong song. With the crowd on an absolute high we wanted more, and more is what we got. Lizzo came back for an encore with About Damn Time, and a final appearance from Sasha Flute before they both wished us goodnight. 

Despite being amazingly talented in many areas, Lizzo’s constant message of self-love and believing in yourself is also what makes her stand out from the rest and makes her so endearing. We need more genuine role models like her in this crazy world. No matter the mood you’re in when you enter a Lizzo gig, the only way you’re coming out of that show is on cloud 9 feeling buzzed and empowered. I’m still riding that Lizzo high and won’t be stopping anytime soon. If there’s one person you need to add to your Concert Bucket List, then Lizzo is it. 

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[Review] The Waifs @ Northcote Theatre, Melbourne 08/06/2023

Review By Terri Nas

Thursday night took me on an adventure to the inner north of Melbourne, to the beautiful and stunningly restored Northcote Theatre. Built over 100 years ago, the building provides a beautiful mood and atmosphere as soon as you enter the doors. With its high ceilings decorated with ornate plaster work and the breathtaking cocktail bar on the mezzanine overlooking the theatre, you feel as if you’ve been transported back to another era. Here, is where I was to have my front row encounter with the talented and melodious Aussie folk rock act, The Waifs

20 years. 20 years can either feel like yesterday or an entire lifetime ago but in terms of music, time is irrelevant and The Waifs and their nostalgia-inducing music are a testament to that. The band are currently touring to celebrate the 20 years since their chart-topping album Up All Night was released back in 2003.

It was standing room only for the sold-out crowd, and the night began with an introduction from Mama Kin Spender who was the support act for the night. With Mama Kin on vocals and drum/rhythm section, and her offsider, Spender, on guitar and vocals, they provided some funky tracks with deep lyrics and a rich sound to get us moving and in the mood. 

The Waifs, consisting of Josh Cunningham, sisters Donna Simpson & Vikki Thorn, and rhythm section Ben Franz & David Ross MacDonald, entered the stage to an excitable audience and got everyone fired up and stomping along with the first song of the night, Fisherman’s Daughter. 

Nothing New was to follow, and then we soon found ourselves in London Still in which Donna recalled an entertaining story of trying to use her street cred of the song’s Triple J Hottest 100 success, on a younger generation that had no idea who she was. 

We were then immersed in Josh’s life dream of living a solitary life with a personal favourite of mine, Lighthouse. I adore this song for many reasons, but it’s the stunning harmonies in the bridge and Vikki’s harmonica solo that really hits the spot for me.

Flesh & Blood slowed the pace with its slow and gritty vibe, and then we took a “12 hour drive” on Highway One. We kept venturing through the Up All Night album in song order, and then once we arrived at Three Down, the lyrics and melody had me back walking the streets of towns that I love in the Deep South of America.

The Waifs have a literal way of storytelling which has the ability to relay their stories straight to your heart, unleashing a wave of nostalgia and memories that may or may not be your own. Since I’ve Been Around is a perfect example of this, and if you’ve ever moved away from your small hometown to the big city, then it’s one that will hit hard. 

To close off the album set was the atmospheric title track, Up All Night. We were then treated to a couple of extra songs from different albums, including a new song written about Donna’s latest love, The Swing

The Waifs bid us farewell and departed the stage, but naturally the crowd were hungry for more so they had no choice but to reappear for an encore. 

The encore was our train ride home from the gig, opening with the fun and upbeat Crazy Train and followed up with the beautiful song written about their grandmother, Bridal Train. After it was requested by many of the punters during the show, we were treated to a final rendition of the much-loved favourite, Gillian

This was the second time I’ve seen The Waifs this year, and it was so wonderful to experience them in a completely different setting this time. Their unique sound, flawless harmonies, and raw & relatable songwriting is what make this group so well-loved. Speaking to fellow fans, their music plays such a pivotal part in people’s lives through the highs and lows that life brings. A brilliant feel-good gig, and I can’t wait to catch them again. 

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[Review] Damien Rice @ Hamer Hall, Melbourne 16/05/2023

Review By Terri Nas

An icy Tuesday night in Melbourne saw a sold-out crowd venture to Hamer Hall to be entertained by the brilliantly talented Damien Rice. With no support act to warm the audience up, we were ready and waiting for the houselights to go down.  The mood was sombre, hypnotising, but full of anticipation, and it felt as if the whole audience was in a complete trance right from the beginning. The intimacy of the venue and stage set up, and the strict no phone policy meant that you could’ve heard a pin drop, and Damien was given our undivided attention as we were eased into the first song of the evening. 

With an array of no less than 4 guitars on stage and some electronic keys, Rice seamlessly floated from instrument to instrument and for the 1 hour and 45 minutes he was on stage, we were treated to the highlights of his back catalogue. Delicate opened proceedings, followed by Insane & then a beautiful piano arrangement of one of my personal spine-tingling favourites, 9 Crimes.

The extremely dim & minimal stage lighting almost felt as if we were all intruding on a private and vulnerable moment, which also added a layer of mystery, as story after story was told in the form of song. Throughout the show the lighting altered periodically, and it gave the illusion that we were watching the sunrise gradually over the duration of the show. A couple of numbers where the dynamic built up in intensity called for more bright and sporadically harsh lighting, which got everyone’s heart started and ensured we hadn’t got too complacent. 

Once we hit about the halfway mark of the set with the popular Cannonball, it was then that the wonderfully talented Francisca Barreto joined Rice on stage. Sitting behind her cello and with her beautiful vocal harmonies, Barreto added an extra rich depth to the songs being performed, kicking off with Astronaut.

Volcano was a huge crowd favourite and had the audience cheering extra loud and wanting more. The next tune was the more upbeat Coconut Skins, where we were told “you can sit on chimneys, with some fire up your ass”. We were then treated to Francisca’s solo vocals during I Remember, and her voice was truly angelic and hypnotising. 

A heckler from the audience yelled out a request for Elephant, in which Damien replied he hadn’t played it in so long so he wasn’t sure he could remember it. But he played the song flawlessly, much to the delight of the requester and the rest of the audience. Another audience member then yelled out a request to play Rootless Tree, and despite Damien’s minimal interaction with the audience in between songs, he hilariously responded “Am I the requests bitch now?” Nevertheless he jumped on the keys and obliged. 

As we approached the end of the set, I anticipated there wouldn’t be an encore given the vibe of the show. So now there was only one song left to play, another crowd favourite and his well-known hit The Blower’s Daughter. He serenaded us by  repeatedly singing  “I can’t take my eyes off you”, but Damien, it was us that couldn’t take our eyes off you. 

Rice is a true storyteller and with his hauntingly beautiful melodies, he has a way of easily tapping into your emotions before you even realise it. I got the impression, given the vibe of the night, that Rice’s songs were there to do the talking so he didn’t feel it necessary to verbally interact with the audience too much. This is definitely one of the most unique and moving gigs I’ve been to, and a truly wonderful experience.

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